A meme of baseball bats being sold in a store in the Philippines has sparked an interesting discussion on the popularity of baseball in the country.
Not for hitting home runs: The photo, which shows the bats being marketed as “personal defense weapons” by a popular hardware store, has become a viral meme generating thousands of reactions and shares.
- The image was first posted on IWSMT website with the title, “Baseball isn’t popular in the Philippines, so in Manila, bats are marketed as personal defense weapons.”
- It gained wider attention after Facebook page Memes and Shitpost reposted the image last week with the caption, “Wait, What?”
- Aptly named for their intended purpose, the bats were labeled as the equalizer, the bodyguard and the defender, as one user on Reddit pointed out.
- Filipino users have confirmed that the hardware store indeed markets the bats as such.
- Commenters on social media have expressed amusement and fascination over the post, with some Filipinos saying in jest that they didn’t know the bats were used for sports.
- For others, the marketing strategy made sense since the bats are technically used for defense, even in Europe and the U.S.
Filipino baseball community reacts: Members of the local baseball community have attested that the game remains a popular sport in the country, SPIN reported.
- The sport, which was introduced in the Philippines during the period of American colonization (1898 to 1946), at some point became the national pastime in the country.
- In 1954, the Philippines took home first place in the first Asian Baseball Championships.
- In 1956, Bobby Balcena became the first player of Filipino descent to play in the Major League Baseball.
- American baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig have played in the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila during the sport’s heyday in the country.
Decline over time: The popularity of the sport reportedly declined in the next few decades due to lack of infrastructure and support from the government.
- The Philippines did not join in any international competition from 1971 to 1994.
- While basketball and boxing have eventually emerged as the modern day game of choice among Filipino sports fans, baseball still reportedly draws crowds when tournaments are hosted in the countryside.
- There is currently no commercial baseball league in the country, but national tournaments such as the Palarong Pambansa and inter-collegiate game fests such as the UAAP continue to include the sport in the competitions.
- Filipinos have also remained competitive baseball players internationally. Just recently, the Philippine Blu Boys took the gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which was held in December.
Feature Image via IWSMT